It’s the End of a Pokémon Era

For the reason that starting of Pokémon, there has all the time been Junichi Masuda. As a cofounder of Pokémon developer Sport Freak, Masuda labored on the very first titles, Pokémon Purple and Pokémon Inexperienced (Pokémon Blue within the states), launched in 1996. By 2002, he started serving as collection director, beginning with Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire.

However Masuda’s shut involvement within the collection has come to an finish. On June 1, he stepped away from his managing editor place and into a brand new position, shifting on from developer Sport Freak to the Pokémon Firm—which serves the top-line position of managing all the model, from animation and buying and selling playing cards to video video games. As a chief inventive fellow, Masuda will use “his deep understanding of the Pokémon model” to assist create new companies and merchandise. Masuda’s departure comes at a pivotal time for the collection. We are actually solely months away from the November 18 launch of Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, the collection’ first true open-world recreation.

It’s the top of an period. Masuda isn’t, and definitely hasn’t been, the one decisionmaker in terms of Pokémon video games; his final director position was on mushy remakes Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! However the franchise has been a notoriously sluggish one in terms of change, particularly when it comes to modernizing its content material. For almost all of its 26 years, mainstream video games adopted the identical blueprint: Catch Pokémon, battle health club leaders, develop into a Pokémon grasp. Pokémon remained a devoted handheld collection till Let’s Go in 2018, adopted by 2019’s Sword and Protect. Every title was additionally a largely static entity till 2020, when Sport Freak lastly started to expand content with DLC obtainable after launch.

It’s apparent that followers need extra expansive Pokémon content material. In its first week, Pokémon Legends: Arceus offered 6.5 million copies, making it the fastest-selling Pokémon recreation on Swap, beating out Sword and Protect at 6 million; it has since sold more than 12 million. Scarlet and Violet are already poised to push the collection’ boundaries even additional. The sport will introduce four-player co-op, a collection first, and long-needed expanded character customization choices.

As for Masuda, who said in 2018 that it was “vital to have the youthful technology at Sport Freak take over the event of Pokemon,” he already has huge plans for his new gig. “I hope to transcend the boundaries of video video games by making an attempt to supply better surprises, enjoyable, and pleasure to individuals all around the world,” he stated in a ready assertion, “whereas doing my utmost to attach individuals, develop the circle of ‘play’ and to assist deliver a couple of richer world for us to share.”

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